On Happiness, Government, and Finding Out Stuff

I learned a lot this weekend. Mostly, about how I could miss out on an encounter with one of my media heroes Nardwuar the Human Serviette and be so okay with it.

On Friday morning, I got up early, and ran down to the station to meet an excited Tara. Maude Barlow was calling at 7:30, and it was 7:33. Out of breath, I dropped my coat in the studio and flicked all of the appropriate knobs switches and buttons. The interview went great! Tara asked really awesome questions, and Maude of course nailed every one on the head.  Click the play button if you want to hear

A couple months ago I secured CHLY to be the title media sponsor for the event she was in town for. It was called Making Waves: Sinking the Harper Agenda. All day we prepared the equipment and elements needed to cover the event. Armed with recorders, cameras, and CHLY promotional material, we ducked into the rain on mulitple trips across the street to the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, setting up and plotting.

The speakers that night included Snuneymuxw  Cheif Doug White (see my interviews here), Maude Barlow, Bill McKibben, and Linda McQuaig

What each one had to say was moving and reconfirmed my notions about the “nation” of Canada and Planet Earth at large (or small?)

Anyway. From this public forum, I got my paws on some interesting publications. Most of which I was totally unaware of- even those published right here in Nanaimo. For example, Dialogue Magazine. I’m hooked! It’s great reading. In 5 pages of reading, I learned more about Canadian politics than I ever did in my bullshit grade ten “Civics” class held in the smelly yellow portable in the parking lot of Holy Cross Catholic Academy.

I came across an article written by Mark Anielski called Reoccupying Happiness: Building Flourishing Economies of Well-being. Here is the article (you should read it, seriously).

Found in this article are concepts that I am very very interested in. You will be very very interested in them too. It has to do with your happiness. We all just want to be happy, right? I particularly liked the bit about Bhutan. Do you know that country, Bhutan? I didn’t, really. It’s a “tiny Buddhist kingdom of roughly 700 thousand people.” Their whole schtick as a “nation” is simply to be happy. Here’s what the Prime Minister said:

“In Bhutan, personal spiritual fulfillment is not just a spiritual pursuit, it is government policy. My role is to help create conditions that will help our people find happiness.”

Here is an in-depth interview with good ole jolly Jigmi by the UN

Turns out Bhutan is not only just an all-around great place where everyone is chilled out and totally relaxed, it’s one of many countries developing an alternative to the (retarded) concept of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). I would just copy and paste that whole damn article if it meant you’d actually read it, but please. Go read what this guy has to say about the concept of GDP, and all of the OTHER ways of measuring societal progress, health,  well-being, happiness, and fulfillment!

Super interesting, right? Check out their mandate, located on the Bhutanese government website for the Gross National Happiness Commission. I’m in love with this concept. Ever since I heard Dana Larsen mention it during his campaign for BC NDP leadership.

There is enough for everyone on Planet Earth to be healthy, happy, and flourishing. If this wholly tangible utopia doesn’t happen in my lifetime, at the very least I hope it happens in my great-grand childrens. That night Bill said it may never happen because we fucked the Earth so bad already.  Is it naive to hope he’s wrong? Can my idea of utopia exist only in another realm or parallel reality? Here’s hopin.

I’m happy anyway. Know what makes me happy? Optimism. Linked strongly with hope, yes. But I know something that is certain. Here it is:

Nature, love, and truth trumps all. Even capitalism.

Especially capitalism.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *